The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s policy of rejecting applications to register trademarks that identify nonhemp cannabis products, as well as certain hemp CBD products, reflects an unduly doctrinaire approach that ultimately makes Americans less safe. As the cannabis industry continues to enter the business mainstream, the extension of trademark rights to cannabis companies’ products would provide them with additional incentives to develop reputations for quality and safety, setting them apart from actors on the margins of legal markets at the state level. In addition, it would empower cannabis companies to, in concert with law enforcement, pursue counterfeiters peddling unregulated products.
In March, it was reported that Florida law enforcement agencies were expressing concern about “THC-laced candy and snacks … making their way into the hands of children and teens.” THC refers to tetrahydrocannabinol, “the substance … primarily responsible for the effect of marijuana on a person’s mental state.” The level of THC in a cannabis plant determines if that particular plant is legally considered marijuana or hemp. Cannabis with a THC concentration of more than 0.3% on a dry-weight basis is considered marijuana, which is a scheduled drug according to the Controlled Substances Act. By contrast, following the enactment